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Influx interview- heather green of business week

October 10, 2006

Influx had the pleasure of spending a few email moments with Heather Green of Business Week. Getting her take on Web 2.0, where CGM is heading and the changing world of media.

Heather’s thoughts appear regularly at the site Blogspotting,that she shares with fellow Business Week writer Stephen Baker.

Please describe your role at Business Week?

I write and edit stories about the Internet for BW. I have been with them for 9 years, specializing in tracking new Internet trends. So I have gone from covering advertising to ecommerce to digital media to social media.

You are following the whole Web 2.0 and world of new media quite closely, what do you believe their impact has been firstly on business as a whole?

New media is splintering audiences, so that changes the game for companies that specialize in creating mass media. It’s empowering consumers, and that challenges the control that established companies used to have in creating content and in recommending it.

So though the changes are powerful right now, they are only just starting and will force traditional media companies to evolve or not be relevant anymore.

Secondly, on marketing?

Mass marketing can’t work as well as it used to. It will still exist, just as some mass media will. But there will be more niches to try to figure out. I do think that practices can emerge for dealing with these niches and that campaigns wont always have to be tailored from the ground up as they are today. But since the media is new, it takes a lot of legwork at the beginning to figure out those best practices.

Do you believe consumer generated media still has legs, or will it burn out around the time of next year’s Superbowl?

I think that CGM is here to stay. It’s cheap, it’s easy, people like sharing aspects of their lives and their tastes. I don’t think it’s a great business, however. The real result of social media on traditional companies will be its disruptive nature, how five friends of my uncle will spend time watching his cat video, inevitably taking time away from the time they would have spent watching one other TV show online.

Although, we are spending more time with media, there is a limit and eventually different mediums suffer.

However, just because people create media for themselves, doesn’t mean that they need to create it for an advertiser. I think sometimes we mistake good campaigns for best practices. Like with the consumer generated ads.

I don’t think this is something that every company should copy. It works for some, but I believe that by copying it willy nilly, it’s destroying the strength of it. This isn’t the way to reach folks in their CGM mode.

What do you think will follow CGM, if anything?

It’s a good question. I think that immediately it’s going to be networks or ways of filtering through all this information that emerge. We’re overwhelmed, we need to have buckets to go through or filters to use for all of this information. Other than that, I don’t really know, frankly.

I don’t see anything in particular right now.We have gone through a huge spurt of innovation in the consumer realm and now we’re sorting through it.

Which brands do you think really understand the new media space and are using it most effectively?

I have been impressed with Nike and Toyota in particular.

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